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This multifaceted book examines the free market reform of the Chinese healthcare system in the 1980s and the more collectivist or socialist counter-reforms that have been implemented since 2009 to remedy some of the problems introduced by marketization. The book is based on an ethnographical study in a Chinese county from 2011 to 2012, which investigated local people's experience of healthcare reforms and the various ways in which they have adapted their own behavior to the constraints and opportunities introduced by these reforms. It provides a vivid depiction of the morality and emotionality of people's experiences of the Chinese healthcare system and the myriad frustrations and sometimes desperation it induces not only among patients with significant health problems and their families, but also healthcare practitioners caught between their desire to do right by their patients and the penalties they personally incur if they do not adhere to institutionalized cost-saving measures. The people's experiences within China's health sector presented reflect many similar experiences in the wider Chinese society. The book is thus a valuable resource for researchers and graduate students interested in China's healthcare reforms and scholars concerned with issues of contemporary Chinese society.
Jiong Tu is an assistant professor at the School of Sociology and Anthropology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China. Her research interests include health policies, illness experiences of cancer patients, digital health and end-of-life care.